4 responses to “Sales Management: Focusing On Core Competencies for Extraordinary Results

  1. Wow. I agree with everything you wrote. I’ve been preaching much of those same things for quite a while now.

    I think sales compensation has been one of the toughest obstacles lately. It usually ties to how good their sales process is, and how much support the team has. It seems the less that is in place, the more the pay plan is used as a tool to transfer risk.

    Extrinsic motivators like commissions only work when there is a clear cut path/process to the sale.

    If there isn’t, and no support on top of it, sales reps panic and start looking for the sale instead of following a process.

    This prompted me to write this article:

    Half Court Bricks

    For years I have watched sales departments operate and motivate by throwing half court bricks. How many times do we see a sales team of 10 people broken down like this:

    1 superstar, 2 average, and 7 struggling? What do we do to fix it? We look at the superstar and try to copy what they are doing. Copy what works, right? Wrong!! If 9 people can’t repeat what the 10th one does, it doesn’t make sense to call that the process “that works”.

    2 things are critical for a sales team:
    1. A process/game plan that works for the majority, not the one.
    2. Proper motivation to follow that process and plan, instead of chasing the end result.

    Comp plans play a huge role here:
    Most comp plans are performance based. We try to get to the end result “the sale” by using carrots and sticks. Get the deal. Get paid. No deal. No pay. This creates an environment of throwing half court bricks.

    Half court brick analogy:
    Take a basketball team. If the team scores more points, they win. We get it. So, lets motivate the players the same way we try to motivate the sales team. Instead of paying players to show up and execute the strategy, lets pay them individually for performance. The goal is to make the most baskets. So, lets pay the players per basket. With that thought in mind, lets add a new rule. Half court shots are worth 5 points. The goal is to score big and often so the team can win. (Just like the sales department)

    Here is your new pay plan:
    $1000 every time you make a 2 point basket. $5000 every time you make a 3 point basket. $20000 every time you make a half court basket. Makes sense right? We want the biggest return with the least amount of effort/overhead.

    Of course, the result would be total chaos. Every time you get the ball, you will put up half court bricks. You can’t afford to pass, and it is too much work for the $1000 return to drive all the way to the hoop. Not to mention, you won’t have much help on the way.

    As silly as this scenario sounds, this is how a lot of sales departments are set up. We are interested in the end result. “The Sale” So, we motivate the reps with carrots and sticks. The bigger the deal, the bigger the reward. No deal. No reward. As we get desperate, it becomes imperative to land half court bricks.
    Result: Minimal low fruit. Maximum failure.

    All pro’s can consistently make a lay up once they are in position. Very few if any can consistently make a half court basket. Are we giving our sales teams a strategy, support, and help putting them in front of the basket for a lay up, or are we handing them the ball at the half court and yelling “SHOOT!!!”?

  2. Wow! I love this and agree with it all.
    We are a small team within a sales force and endeavour to apply all that you talk about. We are client realtionship builders.
    I am going to print it and give it to our broker.
    Thank you for putting it in words for me to share. Third party is often listened to more.

  3. Loco Yimmy

    Yasu Demetri R

    You are a business genius. If you ever want a your next LearJet then let me know.

    Demetri D / Demetra M

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